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E-NEWS BULLETIN 23 June 2017 A week’s links to the making of the world



SAFTU: The tragedy and (hopefully not) the farce

saftuThe labour movement has been unable to de-link itself from its archenemy: capital. As its structures bureaucratise, as its leaders become career unionists, as it opens investment companies and pays staff increasingly inequitable salaries, it increasingly mirrors the very thing it is fighting. If the South African Federation of Trade Unions is to meet its promise, it must be fundamentally different from the organisation it was born out of.

OVER the past 20 years and more, thousands of working people, across the social spectrum, have been made homeless and effectively robbed of billions of rands. These are men and women who, through being retrenched, having become ill or been injured, have fallen into arrears with their bond payments, sometimes for as little as three or four months.

Herstory: Soweto uprising and the erasure of Black women

June76There are many distortions in the dominant narratives around the 1976 students’ uprising. One of the most critical of these is the persistent, subtle projection of that uprising as the exclusive initiative of young men, to the complete exclusion and erasure of the invaluable contributions and sacrifices of young women. This constitutes epistemic violence against Black women.

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Nobel Laureate Economist Says American Inequality Didn’t Just Happen. It Was Created.

stiglitzAMERICA’s current level of inequality is unusual. Compared with other countries and compared with what it was in the past even in the United States, it’s unusually large, and it has been increasing unusually fast. It used to be said that watching for changes in inequality was like watching grass grow: it’s hard to see the changes in any short span of time. But that’s not true now.

Neoliberalism, big capital and the Zambian crisis

ZAMBIA’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema and five others were arrested two months ago on treason charges. As the court proceedings drag on, they remain in custody and have recently been transferred to a maximum security prison.

Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families

mex presMEXICO’s most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists.

Venezuela’s worst economic crisis: What went wrong?

VENEZUELA is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate of over 400 percent and a volatile exchange rate. Heavily in debt and with inflation soaring, its people continue to take to the streets in

[Video] Don’t blame socialism for Venezuela’s woes

venezuelaWhy blaming only socialism for Venezuela’s political and economic crisis doesn’t make sense.


foxconnIn an extract from his new book, Brian Merchant reveals how he gained access to Longhua, the vast complex where iPhones are made and where, in 2010, unhappy workers started killing themselves.

Is the Uber phenomenon killing transit in Sacramento?

Public transport has been losing ridership almost annually for seven years – a 30 percent decline since 2010. American Public Transit Association data show that transit ridership is dwindling in most other cities as well.

The iPad is a Far Bigger Threat to Our Children Than Anyone Realizes.

geekIt’s ten years since the publication of Toxic Childhood, which warned of the dangers of too much screen-time on young people’s physical and mental health. Its fears of how technology is affecting youngsters’ lives have been realised with children made slaves to screens.

Amazon may replace Whole Foods workers with robots

Amazon has acquired Whole Foods in a record-setting $13.7 billion deal. It was also granted a patent for future technology that would prevent brick-and-mortar shoppers from online price checking.

Social Media Falls to Censorship: Facebook Hands Control to Corporate News

unlike censorshipThe freedom of the press — or whatever is left of it, anyway — is crumbling beneath a ruthless & sustained assault by powerful interests, spearheaded by the major media corporations. Censorship practices have gained more traction as news networks continue to blame the unpopular election results on so-called “fake news,” an idea reinforced by intelligence agencies’ claim that Russia influenced the public by promoting reporting that is critical of US policy (a practice also known as journalism).

National Education Association Seems to Endorse Replacing Teachers With Computers

roboteacherThe National Education Association, the largest labor union in the U.S., published a shortsighted puff piece on its Website that seemingly applauds doing away with human beings working as teachers. In their place would be computers, iPads, Web applications and a host of “devices” that at best would need human beings to serve as merely lightly trained facilitators while children are placed in front of endless screens.


How Europe Underdeveloped Africa: The Legacy of Walter Rodneywalter rodney

Writer and activist Lee Wengraf celebrates Walter Rodney, the scholar, working class militant and revolutionary from Guyana who was murdered 37 years ago this week. She writes how he was influenced by Marxist ideas and remains central to the Pan-Africanist canon for many on the left. His book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa remains a classic that must be carefully studied by activists and scholars today.


How the Government Built a Trap for Black Youth

war on povertyFrom the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton barrels toward one chilling conclusion: beginning as early as the Johnson administration, federal authorities systematically constructed a criminal justice regime that targets, criminalizes, polices, and imprisons staggering numbers of young black men.